Tesla’s Elon Musk Says Computers Safer Drivers Than Humans

It won't be long before self-driving cars become an option for today's motorists, according to both Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk and Chris Urmson, Google's Director of Self-Driving Cars. Musk made his comments during a fireside chat at the 2015 GPU Technology Conference in San Jose while Urmson spoke at the TED2015 Conference taking place in Vancouver, Canada.

"We'll take autonomous cars for granted in quite a short time," Musk said during an on-stage conversation with Nvidia CEO and co-founder Jen-Hsun Huang. Urmson, meanwhile, said his team at Google is committed to making self-driving cars mainstream within the next five years . . . soon enough to ensure that his 11-year-old son won't need to take a driving test when he turns 16.

In October, Tesla announced that its autopilot feature -- enabling self-parking and collision prevention -- would be standard on every one of its new Model S vehicles. Google unveiled its first self-driving vehicle prototype last year and is currently conducting tests on its track in Silicon Valley.

Driven Cars 'Too Dangerous'

Speaking with Nvidia's Huang in front of nearly 4,000 people, Musk said he views the challenge of autonomous cars as "almost" a solved problem. "We know what to do, and we'll be there in a few years," he said.

Developments such as Nvidia's new DRIVE PX self-driving car computer -- announced at the GPU conference -- will help speed production of autonomous vehicles, said Musk, who is also co-founder and CEO of the space technology firm Space X. "What Nvidia is doing with Tegra (mobile processors) is really interesting and really important for self-driving in the future," he said.

Beyond the technological challenges, Musk acknowledged there are other hurdles to overcome, including innovation-leery regulators and the typically slow refresh period for replacing new vehicles with old ones....

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